Julia Barton is an artist based in the NW Highlands, inspired by coastal ecology. Her passion is ocean sustainability and seaweed. She is convinced that art can make a difference and this conviction drives her practice. She makes artworks and creates events that engage people in Ocean appreciation and connected urgent environmental issues. Her main place of work for the last 10 years has been the upper littoral zones of the Scottish coastline.

Julia began the Littoral Art Project in 2013 after walking on a beach on the North-West coast of Scotland so thick with mounds of litter that she feared drowning in it. Since then much of her time has been investigating marine plastic litter along the Scottish shorelines, working in and with many coastal communities. Her work has included devising and facilitating experiential happenings and showing installations in galleries, on beaches and in the Scottish Parliament, to draw awareness to this pollution issue, recorded in this website and summarised below . Julia was awarded a 2016/2017 Shetland Environmental Award.

In 2021 Julia fulfilled a dream of hers to bring together artists, scientists and communities, to celebrate seaweed, by curating the Isle Martin Seaweed Festival, Scotland’s First Seaweed Festival, as part of Scotland’s Year of Coasts and Waters #YCW2021

Julia is presently preparing her #LitterCUBES for exhibiting this year, to keep alive the #COP26 #ClimateCrisis message alive.

Beyond this project: Julia has worked and exhibited widely in the UK and internationally, in galleries, on the streets, in gardens, on a bridge and even in a decommissioned jail. Previous projects can be viewed  at www.julia-barton.co.uk

Acknowledgements: A significant part of the Research and Development of the Littoral Art Project and the production of the NEO Terra exhibition was supported by the National Lottery through Creative Scotland’s Open Project Fund. Since then Julia’s work has received private sponsorship from may companies, trusts and individuals through appeals and Crowd funding.



The aim is to encourage understanding of the threat that beach and marine litter presents by enabling people to see litter in different ways and to consider its long term environmental implications. 

‘The project reflects the ability of artists to respond to these challenges in interesting and imaginative ways that bring to life global concerns and encourage collective action.’  Creative Scotland 


To date Julia has devised and facilitated a series of interactive exhibitions and events to share her findings, most recently in the form of a multi-media interactive exhibition  shown in Lerwick and Ullapool that reached over 7,000 visitors.

The exhibition comprises a 10m long plastic archipelago floor installation, animation, sand samples, timeline, an interactive area to examine samples and a series of sculptures #Litter CUBES. These elements encouraged people to look closely at the issue and to talk about how to change the situation.

NEO Terra:a powerful warning about   the future of the marine environment.’                       The Scotsman

‘A high impact installation-both microscopic + macroscopic. It deserves a much wider exhibition round the country’ JR Broadham, exhibition visitor


 Scottish Parliament, Dec 2017

Samples taken from 120 beaches in Shetland and the NW Highlands plus residents’ responses and comments have been presented to Ministers and MSPs in a sponsored exhibition at Holyrood with a linked event jointly hosted with the Marine Conservation Society

‘A high impact installation-both microscopic + macroscopic. It deserves a much wider exhibition round the country’ JR Broadham, exhibition visitor


Litter Lines: World Environment Day

Loch Broom, where collected litter was laced together and towed off a remote beach to a main-land access point for collection. 2014

‘a tough, thought provoking row – feeling the weight of our throw-away culture’ Skiff member

Deep Time Walk: iLAND (Isle Martin) Festival 2016

Shoreline walk connecting plastic pollution to past, present and future geological periods using beach pebbles to make a symbolic cairn to a sustainable future.

School Workshops:

school   Bertolli package                           Julia has worked with 25 schools encouraging pupils to become active citizens engaging with manufacturers, supporting local recycling initiatives and deposit systems.

‘Art is a powerful medium for pupils to engage with an extremely relevant and pressing issue helping them to find their voices as active and concerned citizens’.     L Strachen  Ullapool teacher



2018-19: Julia is making a series of sculptures #LitterCUBES to tour to Fishing For Litter harbours around Scotland, illustrating the volume of plastic leaking into the sea.

With scientist John McIntyre she will calculate the value of energy (in litres of petrol) that each #LitterCUBE represents, triggering debate about the loss to the economy that plastic pollution represents. She is currently searching for funding to make this happen.


Guide to Beach Litter is a fold out guide to identify 40 different types of litter found on beaches around the UK, answering questions raised by the volume of litter found on beaches and in our marine environment and suggesting ways we can help to solve the problem. Includes useful links and sources of further information. Please get in touch if you would further


Julia is available to talk about her work, run workshops relating to the project and is always looking for potential new collaborations and new sources of funding. Please get in touch with any suggestions. 

Contact: Julia Barton  juliabartonartist@gmail.com @juliabartonartist @LittoralArt